31 December 2013



A deadly accident can take a life in more than one way.

Four years ago, Carlene Adams made a deadly mistake. A tragic accident derailed the future she'd hoped for, taking the life of the man she'd planned to spend forever with.

As a self-imposed penance for her solitary sin, Carlene has given up on every dream she ever had. She has committed to spend every remaining moment trying to make up for that one instance when everything changed.  

Then she gets a second chance.

When Carlene meets Nick, the single kiss they share awakens the desires she shoved aside for so long. Suddenly she wants more than what she believe she deserves. Will she ever see him again? And if she does, what will that mean for her?

A thing of fate.

Leaving the life she built on regret, Carlene waits for fate to intervene. But just as she begins to believe in a fresh start, she's forced to realize a horrible truth—one with the power to send her second chance crashing before it even takes off.

Nick isn't who she thought he was. She isn't the girl he believed her to be, either. Their lives were intertwined even before they met, and if Carlene tells him the truth, she’ll risk tearing them apart—for good.

** Due to sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18. **


Dori Lavelle, is a mother, wife, and lover of happy endings and mint chocolate. She thinks love and chocolate make such a perfect pair. Give her a great romance novel with a hint of suspense and a mug of hot chocolate and she'd be one happy woman.

Growing up, Dori read a lot, and when she wasn't happy with a particular ending, she wrote a different one, just for herself. Before long, she was writing stories when she should have been doing homework. The time has come for her to share the stories she cooks up in her head.






Rafflecopter Giveaway ($20.00 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash or Three eARC’s of REKINDLED MOMENTS, Book Two in the Moments in Time Series)

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19 December 2013





Ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon...the smells of Christmas. The smells of home.

Rachel Murphy longs for home and family. Since childhood, she's dreamed of owning her own pastry shop, but after being burned by a celebrity chef and losing her new bakery in Arizona, Rachel's spending the holidays with her brother in Montana. To keep her dream alive, she's creating custom gingerbread houses and selling them around town. All she needs is a bigger kitchen...and to stay away from her brother's handsome boss.

Former venture capitalist Nate Vaughn has embraced his inner cowboy and now runs a successful dude ranch where Rachel's brother works. Nate's commercial kitchen is perfect for Rachel's baking needs, and seeing the cute blonde's business acumen, Nate knows she'd be the perfect partner for a new venture. When he makes her an offer she can't refuse, he discovers he's interested in more than her gingerbread.
While Nate could make her dreams come true, Rachel's heart, as well as her head, tells her mixing business with anything else could be a recipe for disaster. Should she return to Arizona, and leave Nate and her new eager-for-more customers behind? Or can Nate convince her that, here with him in the mountains of Montana, she's already home? For Christmas...forever.

Image of Melissa McCloneABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I've always been a fan of fairy tales and "happily ever afters", but I'd never read a category romance until my senior year of high school when my A.P. English teacher, Mrs. Cooper, had the class study genre fiction. She assigned each of us a Harlequin Romance to read. Mine was set in the Canary Islands and I couldn't wait to read another one. And another and another. I was hooked. Needless to say, I owe Penny Cooper a debt of gratitude. And yes, we do keep in touch!

After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in mechanical engineering, I worked for Allied Signal analyzing engine performance in Phoenix, Arizona, and my love of romance novels continued to grow. One day, I decided to write a romance of my own. Easier said than done I quickly learned, but I discovered the Desert Rose Chapter of Romance Writers of America and realized how little I knew about writing romances.

After three years in Phoenix (Tempe, actually), I began to hate the Arizona summers. Who cares if it's a dry heat? Anything over a hundred and ten is still hot. So I took at job at United Airlines in San Francisco. I was still analyzing jet engine performance, but now I had travel benefits. I spent five years traveling the globe. My love for writing romances also grew.
Writing became a passion, and the few hours spent at the computer during lunchtime and in the evenings weren't nearly enough. With lots of prodding and support from my husband of six months whom I met working at UAL, I decided to follow my dream and write full-time.

It was a good decision. My first full-time effort, FIANCE FOR THE NIGHT, was also my first sale to Silhouette Yours Truly. When I got the call that Silhouette was buying my book, I was pregnant with my first child. I was jumping up and down so much, my husband was afraid I was going to go into labor.

I moved to the Silhouette Romance line with my second sale, IF THE RING FITS. My daughter was three months old at the time and I was so tired I barely remember the phone conversation with my editor. Thank goodness my husband was home once again when the telephone rang or I might have thought I dreamed the second sale!

I sold my third book, THE WEDDING LULLABY, when I was pregnant with my second child and got a literary agent, too. I'm represented by Annelise Robey at the Jane Rotrosen Agency. I started hoping being pregnant wasn't a trend or a requirement for future sales. It wasn't even though we now have three children.

With the closing of the Silhouette Romance line, I was moved from the New York editorial office to the Harlequin Mills & Boon editorial office in London in May 2005.

I live in Washington with my real-life hero husband, two daughters, a son, lovable, but oh-so spoiled indoor cats and an adorable forty-eight pound Norwegian Elkhound who thinks she's a lap dog. I love to ski, rock climb and read!

Home for Christmas is my first project with Tule Publishing's Montana Born Books. The novella will be available at Amazon only. The Kindle eBook version is available now. The print (paperback) version goes on sale in late November and includes two other novellas in the anthology—A Cowboy for Christmas by Katherine Garbera and Christmas at Copper Mountain by Jane Porter



This was a cute sweet book. I really enjoyed the characters and the setting. It was a true Holiday romance. 

I did have a few small issues with thinking some of actions didn't quite ring true but overall still enjoyed it. 




12 December 2013


When my best friends and I decided on this topic(1998 or older) I thought to myself I knew exactly what I was going to pick.

Then I started really thinking. There are so many- too many to choose from. However I am going to pick just one of my favorites- after all the topic for a single book.

So I present to you from September of 1996(far left original cover, and shown next reprinted HC cover and reprinted paperback cover). And just so you know, this was the book that first came to my mind and I stuck with it!

I love books with dogs and Fred is such a character in this book. Plus the heroine is older the hero. This book has heart and humor and I've re-read it over and over(in fact I'll probably go and re-read it very soon).

Anyone But YouAnyone But You           Anyone But You


Part basset, part beagle, all Cupid...can a matchmaking hound fetch a new love for his owner?

For Nina Askew, turning forty means freedom - from the ex-husband whose career always came first, from their stuffy suburban home. Freedom to have her own apartment in the city, freedom to focus on what she wants for a change. And what she wants is something her ex always vetoed - a puppy. A bouncy puppy to cheer her up. Instead she gets...Fred.

Overweight, smelly and obviously suffering from some kind of doggy depression, Fred is light-years from perky. But for all his faults, he does manage to put Nina face-to-face with Alex Moore, her gorgeous, younger downstairs neighbor.

Alex looks great on paper - a sexy, seemingly sane, surprisingly single E.R. doctor who shares Fred's abiding love for Oreos - but a ten-year difference in age, despite his devastating smile, is too wide a gap for Nina to handle. Ignoring her insistent best friend, some interfering do-gooders and the ubiquitous Fred - not to mention her suddenly raging hormones - Nina thinks that anyone but Alex would be a better bet for a relationship. But with every silver-haired stiff she dates, the more she suspects it's the young dog-loving doctor she wants to sit and stay!


Jennifer Crusie

Jenny Crusie is the NYT bestselling author of twenty some novels and lots of other stuff. Her latest novel, Maybe This Time, hit shelves in August, 2010.

Jenny lives on the Ohio River where she often stares at the ceiling and counts her blessings.


And CLICK BELOW to check out what my best friends and fellow bloggers picked as their Oldie but Goodie:

Ann- Romancing the Readers

Karen-The Many Faces of Romance

05 December 2013




A Riley wedding is in the works, a Riley Christmas means a house full of family, and baby making is on Liz Riley's mind. Chasing Gavin around and meeting in dark closets can be fun, but Liz is more than a little determined. Even with family in every corner of the house, Gavin is more than ready to do whatever Liz wants—especially when sex is involved. It's a Riley family Christmas.

Changing the Game

Read the beginning of Liz and Gavin's romance in Changing the Game


Chapter One

Not Pregnant.
Liz Riley sat in her bathroom, crushing disappointment tightening her stomach as she stared at the pregnancy test.
Not pregnant. Again.
Her period was three days late. She’d been so certain this time.
Dammit. The word failure wasn’t in her lexicon. She’d always succeeded, usually found a way to get what she wanted. Even when faced with a temporary roadblock, she wrangled her way around it and won. She was one of the best sports agents in the business, and always got what she wanted.
But that was business, and this was personal. For the past year, she’d tried—and failed—numerous times to get pregnant.
She tossed the stick into the trash and stared at herself in the mirror.
“This sucks.”
“What sucks?”
She whirled to face her husband, Gavin, the love of her life and the only man who could have ever made her want to have a baby.
She twined her arms around him. “Nothing. Okay, it’s something. I might have a pimple coming up on my chin.”
He gasped. “Oh, God, no. Not a pimple. It’s the end of the world.”
She glared. “This is serious.”
He tilted her chin up. “There’s nothing on your chin. And even if there was, you’d still be the sexiest damn redhead I’ve ever laid my eyes on.”
He pressed a kiss to her chin, then let his lips trail down over her neck. Her woes temporarily forgotten, she leaned against him, loving the feel of his body pressed along hers. He’d just gotten out of the shower, and the fresh, clean scent of him never failed to hit all of her hot buttons.
Then again, she liked him sweaty, too. After a practice or a game, with dirt and perspiration rolling down his face, he wore his work on his body, and she loved him that way.
As his former agent, she knew how hard he worked at baseball. He was the best first baseman she’d ever represented. Of course, as soon as they’d fallen in love, she’d had to bow out of representing him, but she never stopped appreciating what a fine specimen of an athlete he was.
Or what an amazing and giving lover he was.
Like now, as he set her on the bathroom counter, spread her legs and dropped to his knees, burying his face between her thighs.
She shuddered as he slid his tongue along her sex. Gavin always knew exactly how to pleasure her.
“Oh, yes,” she murmured, sliding her fingers through the softness of his hair, directing him to where she needed his mouth. And when he hummed against her clit, she arched against him, so close already she could come right now.
But not yet, not when the sensations he brought out of her with his tongue were so delicious. She wanted to wait just a little longer.
The distant sounds of knocking permeated her senses. But she was right on the edge, so close to coming that she blocked everything else.
“I’m almost there, Gavin. Just like that.”
And when he pressed his tongue against her clit and licked her, she came with a loud cry, holding his head there as she rode out an amazing orgasm that left her shuddering.
He rose up and kissed her with the same hard passion that always left her breathless.
She heard the rapping at the door again. Only this time, the doorbell accompanied the knock.
Gavin pulled back. “Was that the front door?”
Then realization slammed into her. “Oh, shit. I forgot Jenna and Tara were coming over.”
Oh, shit is right.” He looked down, and she followed his gaze where his erection bobbed hard and tempting against her leg.
She let out a rueful sigh. “So much for the hot sex. I guess I’ll get the door.”
“Good idea. I’ll be here thinking about what we could have been doing. No. Bad idea. I’ll think about on-base averages, and then I’ll get dressed.”
She laughed, slid off the counter, and hurriedly threw on some clothes before running downstairs to get the door.
Jenna arched a brow. “What the hell. I was about to call you. Were you in the shower?”
“I’m sorry. I was upstairs getting dressed. I’m running late this morning.”
“Are you sure this is a good time?” Tara asked, giving her a hug.
“It’s a perfect time. Come on in.”
Jenna brushed by. “You were probably having sex with my brother.”
Liz followed them into the living room. “And if I was, you so wouldn’t want the details about that.”
“You’re right. I wouldn’t.” Jenna laid a bag next to the sofa, then turned back to Liz. “Your face is all flushed. Oh, my God, you were having sex. Geez, Liz, you could have called us and told us to come back later.”
“No way. It was an impromptu thing.”
Tara crossed her arms, a serene smile on her face. “So, a quickie, huh?”
“More like half a quickie.”
“Ouch,” Tara said.
“You have lousy timing, Jenna,” Gavin said as he sauntered downstairs and into the living room.
“Hey, Tara’s here, too, you know.”
“Yeah, but you’re my sister, so I’ll blame you.”
He gave both Jenna and Tara hugs and asked, “Who wants coffee?”
“I definitely do,” Jenna said.
Tara nodded. “I’d love some.”
“Tea for me,” Liz said.
“Since when do you not drink coffee?” Jenna’s eyes widened. “Are you pregnant?”
“No. Just working on putting healthy stuff into my body just in case it happens someday. Which, so far, it hasn’t.”
Jenna squeezed her hand. “I’m sorry. I should stop asking you all the time about it. I’m as excited for you to have a baby as you are.”
Liz looked into the kitchen, then returned her attention to her sisters-in-law. “I took a test this morning because I was a little late. It was negative.”
Tara frowned. “I’m sorry. That has to be frustrating to want it so badly. But you just need to relax and give it time.”
Liz gave her a look. “When have you ever known me to relax?”
“Good point. But maybe if you did try to relax a little, it might happen?”
“I don’t know. We’ve been trying for a while. And I know I’m not in my twenties anymore, so maybe there’s something wrong.”
“Did you ask your doctor?”
Liz waved her hand. “She ran tests on both of us. Gavin’s fine. She said I’m fine, and that there’s no reason I can’t conceive. And she also said I should relax.”
Jenna laughed. “Okay, so just enjoy the sex thing and let it happen.”
“That’s the problem. It’s been a year. I’m not pregnant. Clearly I’m not trying hard enough.”
Jenna gave her a look. “I can’t imagine there’s anything you try to accomplish that you don’t give your all to. Even this.”
Gavin came in with drinks for all of them. “Thanks, babe,” Liz said.
“My pleasure. What were you all whispering about in here?”
Jenna gave Gavin an innocent look. “My wedding stuff, of course. Do you want to take a seat and hear all the details?”
Gavin looked horrified. “God, no. It’s bad enough you’re putting me in a tux and making me take part in it. Do I have to hear details, too?”
Liz loved the terrified look on his face. Like Jenna would ask him to go over invitations or something. “No. You’re dismissed.”
“Thank God. I’m going to the gym.”
He grabbed his gym bag and kissed Liz good-bye.
After he left, Liz motioned to the bag sitting next to the sofa. “So, what’s going on with the wedding stuff?”
Jenna grinned. “Tara brought over the place cards the other day. I thought you might want to see them.”
“You know I do. I can’t believe the wedding is only a few weeks away.”
“I can’t, either. Ty and I put it off for so long. The whole wedding thing just wasn’t important, because we love each other and are committed. I really wanted to just go to city hall or maybe to Vegas for a quickie wedding.”
“But then there’s your mother,” Tara said. “Who would have never forgiven you.”
Jenna nodded. “Exactly. Denying her a wedding, especially for her only daughter, just wasn’t an option, especially after the two of you married Mick and Gavin in such elaborate ways.”
“Uh, sorry?” Liz said with a grin. “I never thought I was the fancy-wedding type. Or even the marrying type. Until Gavin came along.”
“I can relate, believe me. I never believed in the whole commitment thing until Ty. And marriage wasn’t all that important to me, but I loved Ty and he wanted to get married, and then there’s Mom. So I caved.” Jenna took a deep breath. “And so here we are.”
Tara dipped her hand into the bag and pulled a placecard out, handing it over to Liz. “With these.”
The placecards were purple, matching the color of the tips of Jenna’s hair, and the ink was in Ty’s hockey team color. The upper quadrant had a musical note and a hockey stick coming up through it, signifying parts of both Jenna and Tyler, with their initials woven through it.
“I love these. So much,” Liz said.
“Me, too,” Jenna said. “You don’t think they’re hokey or stupid?”
“Of course not. They’re you. And Ty. And perfect.”
Jenna grinned. “Thank you. I love them, too. Tara helped me with the design.”
Liz slid her glance over to Tara. “It’s what you do best.”
“Thanks. I’m ridiculously excited about this wedding. At least this time I’m not pregnant.”
“And how is our gorgeous nephew?”
“Pulling himself up to stand.”
“Oh, my God. Already?”
“Yes. Mick thinks he’ll be walking soon. He said when he was a baby, he walked at ten months, so he thinks Sam will walk early, too. I’m not ready yet. I want him to stay my cuddly baby as long as possible, though he can crawl through the house like a speed demon. I have to watch him every second, or he disappears. We’ve already got the gate up across the stairs.”
“He’s adorable, Tara. And where is he?” Jenna asked.
“With your parents. When I told your mom I was meeting with the two of you this morning, she asked if she could have him for a couple of hours.”
“Figures. She’s always grabbing Sam.”
Tara leaned back on the sofa. “You know you can have him whenever you want. Or come over whenever you want.”
“Sure. In my spare time, when I’m not overseeing the bar, or working at the club.”
“Oh, cry me a river,” Liz interjected. “I never get to see him, either.”
“I never thought the two of you would be fighting over my baby. You are the two least likely women I’d ever have guessed would have motherly instincts.”
“Hey,” Jenna said. “I love your baby. Not that I want any of my own right now. Too busy. But your kids? Love them madly.”
“That’s because one is in college, and the other you can love and cuddle and spoil, but you don’t have to keep him.”
Jenna nodded. “Exactly.”
Liz laughed. “Speaking of the one in college, how is Nathan doing?”
A streak of motherly pride crossed Tara’s face. “He’s doing so well. He’s putting his studies first, which I insisted on. And of course as you know, Texas ended up winning the Big 12 Conference championship this season. I’d like to think Nathan leading the team at quarterback had a lot to do with that.”
“He’s an exceptional quarterback, like his father,” Liz said. “I watched every game. He has a natural talent, very much like Mick’s.”
“Agree,” Jenna said. “In some ways, he’s better than Mick, because of the way he runs. He confuses the hell out of the defense.”
Liz nodded. “I’m eager to get my hands on him and get him an NFL contract.”
Tara looked horrified. “Oh, God, don’t tell him that. He’ll want to come out next year, and Mick and I want him to stay in school and finish up his degree.”
Liz laughed. “My lips are sealed. And I tend to agree with you. Some of these boys leave school too soon, the lure of the big contract and big money too much to resist. The longer they stay in college, the more experience they gain. At least that’s what I always advise them.”
“Obviously, they don’t always listen.”
She shrugged. “Bottom line is the choice is theirs to make. Many of them go on to have highly successful careers, but it’s my hope they all get their degrees. Or at least stay through their junior years, then finish up their degrees later.”
Tara nodded. “We’re going to push for Nathan to stay in school as long as possible, but you’re right, it’s his career and his choice. We just hope he makes the right one.”
They went over wedding planning, then went out to lunch. Liz parted ways with Tara and Jenna, then headed home, hoping to find Gavin there. Instead, he’d left a message on her phone letting her know he was going for a tux fitting, and then lunch.
Which was fine with her. She had some work to do, anyway, so she opened her laptop and answered a few emails. When she was done, she reviewed her calendar.
It was going to be an extremely busy holiday season. Not only was Jenna getting married—with Liz taking a very active role in that, which she was very excited about—but in addition, she and Gavin would be hosting Christmas for the Riley family in their home this year. Since this was the first time they’d have the entire family over for Christmas, Liz felt the burden of doing everything just right.
Not that Gavin’s family put high expectations on Christmas or anything. His parents were the kindest people she’d ever known. Kathleen and Jimmy Riley had been family to her—more parents to her than her own—since before she and Gavin had ever gotten together. She loved them so much, and they were genuinely warm people. So there was no pressure, other than the normal pressure she put on herself, which was always high.
But still, there’d be a lot of coordinating to do. The Riley family was formidable, and now that there were wives and kids and significant others in the picture, Christmas was going to be huge this year. And Liz intended for this to be the best holiday ever.
She made a few notes about food. Catering was out, unfortunately, because the Rileys just wouldn’t go for that. Nothing but homemade at Christmas. Kathleen would help her, of course, and so would Tara, along with Kathleen’s sister-in-law, Cara. They’d all have to get together and discuss options.
This would totally work.
She leaned back in her chair and stretched, then thought about Gavin and that wretched pregnancy test from earlier.
She pushed back and stood, heading into the kitchen to make a cup of tea. She’d be damned if she’d let her body defeat her. She poured tea into her cup and leaned against the kitchen counter.
If someone had told her two years ago that she would be married and trying to have a baby, she’d have laughed in their face. She’d been totally career driven, and there had been no man on her radar.
Except Gavin, of course. She’d always loved Gavin, but in secret. He’d been the man of her dreams, someone she’d been close to as a client only. Never in her wildest dreams had she ever thought she and Gavin would get together, let alone fall in love and end up married. That’s when her desire for a child—someone who was part of both of them—had started to take hold. She was almost in her midthirties now. If she was ever going to have children, it was time to get going on that. A now or never kind of thing, because she wasn’t getting any younger.
Which was why she wouldn’t let her dream of having a child go up in smoke.
Giving up wasn’t an option. They just needed to have more sex. Gavin was strong and virile, and she was still young enough. She worked out and ate right. There was no reason they couldn’t get pregnant. Gavin was off season right now, which meant he was more available than usual, and that meant more time for sex. Granted, she’d be a more than a little busy with the wedding and holiday planning, but if there was one thing Liz knew how to do, it was make time for sex.
She smiled against the rim of her teacup.
Operation Make A Baby was on.

Jaci BurtonABOUT THE AUTHOR: I'd like to say I always wanted to be a writer, but that's not the case. First I wanted to be a teacher. When I was a kid I used to play school in my friend's basement. She had actual school desks—and index cards. I'm a list maker, so those index cards rocked my world. Then later on, I wanted to be a nurse. My other friend had a stethoscope and a medical book. I had a thing for props, okay?
But during my early teen years my cousin and I—back in the day before the internet –would exchange scripts we'd written of a popular TV show. No, I won't tell you which TV show because then you'd know how old I really am. But it was a western with two gorgeous cowboy heroes and we were each in love with one of the main characters. I'd say that was my first foray into writing, and it got me hooked.
As an adult, marriage, work and raising two sons took priority. And while I fell madly in love with reading romance, there wasn't much time to write it. It's amazing how much corporate life, soccer games, high school musicals, dinner and laundry can suck out of the average day. But I would occasionally dabble in writing, then put it aside when I got busy. Unfortunately, I was always busy.
Eventually my kids grew up and I was on my second marriage when Biker Dude (what I call my husband because of his love for his Harley Davidson) found out I used to dabble in writing and encouraged me to try again. So I did.
I sat down and wrote a romance novel, start to finish. I was so proud of it, but I didn't sell that romance. Not right away, anyway. I didn't sell the one after that, either. Or the one after that. Suffice it to say I wasn't an overnight success. But eventually I did sell a book, then another, and then another. I have an exceptionally smart agent and write for amazing editors. I'm a USA Today andNew York Times bestselling author, and I have you wonderful readers to thank for that.
This has been a dream come true for me, one I wanted for so many years. Writing is my full time career and something I love so much. I can't imagine a day that isn't filled with hot, sexy heroes who save the day, strong, capable heroines who don't need a man to save them, and the happily ever afters in every book.
Sometimes I even write about teachers and nurses. And hot cowboys.
I live in northeast Oklahoma with Biker Dude and our wonderful, crazy dogs. Between us we have three kids who are all grown up and living out in the wild. When I'm not writing I can usually be found in the garden, coaxing the tomatoes to grow, heading out to our local casino trying to become a millionaire (so far, no luck there), or riding on the back of Biker Dude's Harley. And when I want to relax I read other authors' masterpieces or I'm parked in front of the television watching sports, reality TV or crime shows. And maybe a drama or a comedy. Okay, I really watch way too much television.
Welcome to my world.

I'll keep my thoughts short and sweet.

This was NOT one of my favorite books in this series. Granted I've only read the first three but I thought it would be more focused on JUST Gavin and Liz. That said, I did enjoy appearances by the other characters from this series. I also thought that although many of things I love about Ms. Burton's style were present here in the novella- the heat and emotion- at times the novella felt a bit clunky. 

It was still enjoyable and I would recommend to fans of the series. 


30 November 2013




Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.
Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a megabestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.
Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.
Filled with all the comforts and joys of Christmastime, Starry Night is a delightful novel of finding happiness in the most surprising places.
Carrie  Slayton’s  feet were  killing  her.  She’d spent  the  last ninety  minutes  standing  in two-inch heels at  a charity  art auction   in  a  swanky   studio   in  downtown Chicago.   She couldn’t understand how shoes that matched  her black dress so beautifully  could be this painful. Vanity, thy name is fashion.
“My   name  is  spelled  with  two  l’s,”  the  middle-aged woman,  dripping  in diamonds, reminded  her.  “That’s  Michelle, with two l’s.”
“Got it.” Carrie underlined  the correct spelling. Michelle, spelled with  two  l’s, had  just spent  thirty  thousand dollars for  the  most  ridiculous  piece of art  Carrie  had  ever seen. True, it was for a good cause, but now she seemed to feel her name  needed  to  be  mentioned in  the  news  article  Carrie would  write for the next edition  of the Chicago Sun-Times.
“It  would  be wonderful to  have  my husband’s  and  my picture to go along with your article,”  Michelle added. “Per- haps you should take it in front of the painting.”
Carrie  looked  over her shoulder  at Harry, the photogra- pher who’d accompanied her from the newspaper.
“Of course, Lloyd and I would want approval of any photograph you choose to publish.”
“Of  course,”  Carrie  said, doing her best to keep a smile in place.  If she didn’t  get out  of these shoes soon,  her feet would be permanently deformed.  She wiggled her toes, hop- ing for relief. Instead they ached even worse.
Harry, bless his heart,  dutifully stepped forward, camera in hand,  and flashed two or three photos  of the couple posing in front of what might have been a red flower or a painting  of  a  squished  tomato or  possibly  the  aftermath of  a murder  scene. Carrie  had  yet to decide which.  The title of the work  didn’t  offer a clue. Red.  Yes, the painting  was in that  color, but exactly what it depicted remained  a mystery. “Isn’t  it  stunning?” Michelle  asked  when  she  noticed Carrie  staring at the canvas.
Carrie tilted her head one way and then another, looking for some clue as to its possible  significance. Then,  noticing that  Michelle,  spelled with  two  l’s, was waiting  for her re- sponse, she said, “Oh  yes, it’s amazing.”
Harry  didn’t  bother  to hide his smile, knowing  that  all Carrie really wanted was to get out of those ridiculous shoes.
And to think she’d gotten  her journalism  degree for this!
Carrie  knew she was fortunate to have a job with such a prestigious  newspaper. A professor  had  pulled  a favor  and gotten  her  the  interview.   Carrie  had  been  stunned   when she’d been hired. Surprised and overjoyed.
Two years later, she was less so. Her assignment  was the society page. When she was hired, she’d been told that eventually  she’d be able to  write  meatier  pieces, do  interviews and human-interest stories.  To  this  point,  it  hadn’t  hap- pened.  Carrie  felt  trapped, frustrated, and  underappreciated. She felt her talent  was being wasted.
To make matters  worse, her entire family lived in the Pacific Northwest. Carrie  had  left everything  she knew  and loved behind,  including  Steve, her college sweetheart. He’d married  less than  six months  after  she took  the position  in Chicago. It hadn’t taken him long, she noted. The worst part was that  Carrie  was far too busy reporting on social events to have time for much of a social life herself. She dated  occasionally, but she hadn’t found anyone who made her heart race.  Dave  Schneider,  the  man  she’d been  seeing most recently,  was more  of a friend  than  a love interest.  She supposed after Steve she was a bit hesitant  to get involved again. Maybe  once  she  left  the  Sun-Times and  moved  home to write for a newspaper  in the Seattle area, like she planned, things would  be different.
Back inside her condo,  Carrie  gingerly removed  her shoes and sighed with relief.
This was it. She was done. First thing in the morning  she would  hand  in her two-week notice,  sublet her condo,  and take her chances in the job market  in Seattle. If the managing editor,  Nash Jorgen, refused to give her the opportunity to prove she had what it took, then why stay? She refused to be pigeonholed.
That  decided,  Carrie  limped  into  her bedroom and  fell into bed, tired, frustrated, and determined to make a change.
“You  can’t be serious,”  argued  Sophie Peterson,  her closest friend  at the newspaper, when  Carrie  told  her of her deci- sion.
“I’m totally serious,”  she said as she hobbled to her desk. “What’s  wrong  with  your  foot?”  Sophie asked,  tagging behind her.
“Stupidity. This gorgeous  pair  of shoes was only avail- able in a half-size smaller than  what  I normally  wear.  They were so perfect, and they were buy one pair, get the second half off. I couldn’t resist, but now I’m paying for it.”
“Carrie, don’t do it.”
“Don’t  worry,  I have no intention of wearing  those heels again. I tossed them in a bag for charity.”
“Not that,” Sophie argued.  “Don’t  hand  in your notice! You’re needed here.”
“Not as  a  reporter,” Carrie  assured  her,  dumping  her purse in her bottom drawer  and shucking off her thick winter coat. “Sorry,  my mind is made up. You and I both know Nash will never give me a decent assignment.”
“You’re  your  own worst  enemy.”  Sophie leaned against the wall that  separated their  two  cubicles and  crossed  her arms and ankles.
“How’s  that?”
“Well, for one thing, you’re the perfect fit for the society page.  You’re  drop-dead gorgeous,  tall  and  thin.  It doesn’t hurt  that  you  look  fabulous  in a slinky black  dress and  a pair of spike heels. Even if I could get my hair to grow that thick,  long, and  curly without perming  the living daylights out  of it, Nash  would  never  consider  someone  like me. It isn’t any wonder  he wants  you on the job.  Give the guy a little credit, will you? He knows what he’s doing.”
“If looks are the only criteria—”
“There’s  more,” Sophie  said,  cutting  her  off.  “You’re great with people. All you need to do is bat those baby blues at them and strangers  open up to you. It’s a gift, I tell you, a real gift.”
“Okay, I’m friendly,  but  this isn’t the kind  of writing I want to do. I’ve got my heart  set on being a reporter, a real reporter, writing about  real news and interesting  people.” In the beginning,  Carrie  had been flattered  by the way people went out of their way to introduce themselves at the events she covered. It didn’t take long for her to recognize that they were looking  for her to mention  their names in print.  What shocked  her  was  the  extent  people  were  willing  to  go  in order  to be noticed.  She was quickly  becoming  jaded,  and this bothered her even more than  Nash’s lack of faith in her abilities.
The holidays were the worst,  and while it was only early November, the frenzy had already started.  The list of parties Nash assigned her to attend  was already mammoth. Halloween decorations were still arranged around her desk, and already there was a Christmas tree in the display window  of the department store across the street.
Determined to stick with  her plan,  Carrie  went  directly into Nash Jorgen’s office.
A veteran newsman,  Nash glanced up from his computer screen and glared in her direction. He seemed to sense this wasn’t a social visit. His shoulders rose with a weary sigh. “What now?”  he growled.
“I’m  handing   in  my  two-week   notice.”   If  she’d  been looking for a response,  she would  have been disappointed.
He blinked a couple of times, ran his hand down the side of his day-old beard,  and asked, “Any particular reason?”
“I hoped  to prove I can be a darn  good reporter, but I’ll never get the chance writing copy for society weddings.  You said when you hired me that you’d give me a shot at reporting real news.”
“I don’t remember  what I said. What’s wrong with what you’re writing now? You’re good.”
“It isn’t what I want to write.”
“So? You make the best of it, pay your dues, and in time you’ll get the break  you’re looking for.”
Carrie  was tired  of waiting.  She straightened her shoulders, her resolve tightening. “I know  I’m fortunate to work for the Sun-Times. It was a real coup to get this position,  but this isn’t the career  I wanted.  You give me no choice.”  She set her letter of resignation on his desk.
This got Nash’s attention. He swiveled his chair around to look at her once more.  His frown  darkened, and he ran his hand  through his thinning  hair.  “You  really are serious, aren’t you?”
A chill went down her spine. Nash was actually listening. “Yes, I’m serious.”
“Fine, then.”  He reached across his desk and picked up a hardcover book and handed it to her. “Find Finn Dalton,  get an interview,  and write me a story I can print.”
She grabbed  hold  of the  book,  not  recognizing  the  author’s name. “And if I do?”
“Well, first, there’s a snowball’s chance of you even locat- ing him. Every reporter in the universe is dying to interview him. But if by chance you get lucky and he’s willing to talk and  we print  the  piece,  then  I’ll take  you  off the  society page.”
Carrie  wavered.  He seemed to be offering her a chance, as impossible  as it might  seem. Now  it was  up  to  her  to prove herself. She dared not show him how excited she was. “I’ll find him.”
He snickered  as though  he found  her confidence  amusing, and then sobered. He regarded her with the same dark frown  he had earlier before a slow, easy smile slid over his harsh  features.  “I just bet you will. Now,  listen up—if you get an interview with Finn Dalton,  you can have any assignment you want.”
Taking small steps, Carrie backed out of the office. She pointed  at Nash.  “I’m holding you to your word.”
The managing editor was already back to reading his computer screen  and  didn’t  appear  to  have  heard  her.  It didn’t  matter;  she’d heard  him, and  he’d come across loud and clear.
Once she was out of his office, she examined  the book to see the author photo, but couldn’t find one, not even on the inside back flap.
Walking  back  to her cubicle, she paused  at Sophie’s instead. “You ever heard  of Finn Dalton?”
Sophie’s eyebrows  lifted on her round  face. “You  mean you haven’t?”
“No.” The book title wasn’t much help. Alone. That told her next to nothing. The jacket revealed a snow-covered landscape  with a scattering  of stubby trees.
Sophie shook  her head.  “Have  you been living under  a rock?”
“No. Who is this guy?”
“He’s a survivalist who lives alone someplace in the Alaskan wilderness.”
“Oh.” That  was  a bit  daunting, but  Carrie  considered herself up to the challenge. She’d been born and raised in Washington state. She’d hoped to join her family for Thanksgiving,  but  if she needed  to  use her  vacation  time  to  find Finn Dalton,  then she was willing to.
“His book has been on the bestseller lists for nearly seven months,  mostly at the number-one position.”
Carrie  was impressed. “What does he write about?” “He’s the kind of guy you can set loose in the wild with a pack  of chewing  gum,  a pocketknife, and  a handkerchief, and by the time you find him he’s built a shelter and a canoe. From what  I’ve read, his stories about  Alaskan life and survival  in  the  tundra would  kink  your  hair.  Well,  not  that yours needs curling.”
This was Sophie’s idea of a joke. Carrie’s wild dark brown curls were the bane of her existence. She tamed them as best she could, but she often found herself the brunt  of jokes over her out-of-control hair.
“Nash says he doesn’t give interviews.”
“Not just doesn’t give interviews—this guy is like a ghost. No one has ever met or even talked to him.”
“Surely his publisher  or his editor—”
“No,” Sophie said, cutting her off. “Everything  has been done by computer.”
“Well, then . . .”
“All anyone  knows  is that  he lives near an Alaskan  lake somewhere  in the vicinity of the Arctic Circle.”
“How is it you know  so much about  this guy?”
“I don’t,  and  that’s  just it. No  one does.  The press has gone wild looking  for him. Plenty of reporters have tried to track  him  down,  without success. No  one  knows  how  to find him,  and  Finn  Dalton  doesn’t  want  to  be found.  He should  have  called  his  book  Leave  Me  Alone.   Someone could pass him on the street and never know it was him, and from everything I’ve read, that’s exactly how he likes it.”
Intrigued,  Carrie  flipped through the pages of the book. “Nash said I could have any assignment  I wanted  if I got an interview  from Finn Dalton.”
“Of course he did. Nash has been around long enough to know  he’s got you in a no-win situation.”
Carrie  glanced up. “I don’t care. I’m going to try.”
“I hate to be a killjoy here, but Carrie,  no way will you find this guy. Better reporters than either of us have tried and failed. Every newspaper, magazine, and media outlet is looking to dig up information about  him, without success. Finn Dalton  doesn’t want to be found.”
That  might  be the  case,  but  Carrie  refused  to  give up without even trying. This was far too important to drop just because  it was  a long  shot.  “I’m  desperate,  Sophie.”  And really, that  said it all. If she was going to have a real career in journalism, she had to find Finn Dalton.  Her entire future with the Chicago Sun-Times hung in the balance.
“I admire  your determination,” Sophie murmured, “but I’m afraid you’re going to hit one dead end after another.” “That might be the case.” Carrie  was willing to give her friend that  finding Finn Dalton  wouldn’t  be easy. “But I refuse to quit without trying.” She knew Sophie didn’t mean to be negative. “I want this chance, and if it means tracking Finn Dalton  into some godforsaken tundra, then I will put on my big-girl shoes and go for it.”  But not the heels she’d worn last night, that  was for sure.
The first thing Carrie  did in her search for Finn Dalton  was read the book. Not once, but three times. She underlined everything that  gave her a single hint as to his identity.
For two days she skipped lunch, spending her time on her computer, seeking any bit of information she could find that would  help  her  locate  Finn  Dalton.   She  went  from  one search engine to another.
“How’s it going?” Sophie asked as they passed each other on their way out the door a couple of days later.
“Good.” Through her  fact-finding  mission,  Carrie  was getting  a picture  of the man who had written  this amazing book.  After a third  read she almost  felt as if she knew him. He hadn’t always been a recluse. He’d been raised in Alaska and had learned to live off the land from his father, whom he apparently idolize. One thing was certain, he seemed to have no use for women.  In the entire book,  not once did he mention his mother or any female influence. It was more of what he didn’t say that  caught Carrie’s attention.
“Any luck?” Sophie asked, breaking  into her thoughts. “Not yet.” She hesitated. “Have  you read the book?” Sophie nodded.  “Sure. Nearly everyone has.”
“Did you notice he has nothing  to say about  the opposite sex? I have the feeling he must distrust  all women.”
Sophie shrugged  as if she hadn’t  paid  much  notice,  but then she hadn’t been reading between the lines the way Carrie had.
“How old do you think he is?” Sophie asked.
“I can’t really say.” Finn was an excellent writer and storyteller.  But the stories  he relayed  could  have happened at nearly any point  in the last several decades. Current events were skipped over completely.
Sophie  crossed  her  arms  and  looked  thoughtful. “My guess is that  he’s fifty or so, to have survived on his own all these years.”
Speculation   wouldn’t   do  Carrie   any  good.  “Tell  you what.  When I find out, you’ll be the first to know.  Deal?”
Sophie smiled and nodded.  “Deal.”
That night, as Carrie readied for her latest charity event, her cell rang.  It was her mother  in Seattle. They spoke  at least two or three times a week. Carrie  was tight with her family and missed them dreadfully.
“Hi,  Mom,” she answered,  pressing  her cell to  her ear while she attempted to place a pearl earring into her earlobe.
“Hi,  sweetheart. Are you busy?”
“I’ve got a couple of minutes.” She switched ears and stabbed  the second  pearl  into  place before tucking  her feet into a comfortable pair of high heels. She was scheduled  to meet Harry  in thirty minutes.
“Dad  and I are so excited to see you at Thanksgiving.” “Yes, about  that.” Carrie  grabbed  her purse and tucked it under  her arm  while holding  on to her phone.  “Mom, I hate  to  tell you  this,  but  there’s  a possibility  I might  not make it home for Thanksgiving.”
The disappointment in her mother’s voice was painful  to hear. “Have  you ever heard  of Finn Dalton?”
“Oh  sure. Your father loved his book so much he bought two additional copies. I read it, too. Now,  that’s a man.” “I want to interview  him.”
“Really.  From  what  I understand, he doesn’t  give interviews.”
“Yeah,  that’s what I heard,  too.” “Does  he ever come to Chicago?”
“Doubtful,” Carrie  murmured. If only it would  be that easy  and  he  would  come  to  her.  Well,  that  wasn’t  likely. Then again,  something  Sophie said had stayed in her mind. She could walk past him on the sidewalk and never know  it was him. “I’ll need to track  Finn Dalton  down,  but  I keep running  into dead ends the same as everyone else.” She mentioned her online search, the calls to Alaska, and the number of phones  slammed  in her ear. No  one had  been willing to talk  to her.  “I have  to look  at this from  a different  angle. Have you got any ideas?”
“From  what  your  father  said,  Finn  Dalton  isn’t a man who would  enjoy being written  up on the society page.”
“That’s   just  it,  Mom.   This  would  be  an  investigative piece. My  editor  told  me I could  have  my pick  of assignments  if  I was  able  to  get  this  interview.   It’s  important, enough so for me to take the vacation  days I planned  to use for Thanksgiving to find him.”
“Oh  Carrie,  I hate the thought of you doing that.”
“I know,  I hate  it, too,  but  it’s necessary.”  Her  mother was well aware of Carrie’s feelings toward her current  work situation.
“Do  you  really  think  you  can  find  Finn  Dalton?” her mother  asked.
“I don’t  know  if I can or not,  but  if I don’t,  it won’t be from lack of trying.”
“I’ve  always  admired  your  tenacious  spirit.  Can  I tell your  father  you’re going to write  a piece on the man  who wrote Alone?”
“Ah . . . not yet. I have to locate Dalton  first.”
“What have you discovered so far?”  Her mother  was nothing  if not practical.  Carrie could visualize her mother pushing up her shirtsleeves, ready to tackle this project with Carrie.
“Do you know  where he was born?”
“No. I assumed it must have been Alaska, but there’s no record of his birth there. I’ve started  going through the birth records  of  other  states,  starting   with  the  northwest, but haven’t  found  his name  yet.”  At this rate,  it would  be the turn of the next century before she found the right Dalton.
“What about  his schooling? Graduation records?”
“I tried that,  but he’s not listed anywhere.  Maybe he was home-schooled.”
“You’re   probably  right,”  her  mother   said,   sounding proud that Carrie had reasoned it out. “One of his stories mentions   his  father  mailing  away  for  books,  remember? Those were textbooks, I bet.”
Carrie  had made the same assumption.
“Finn is a rather  unusual  name, isn’t it?” her mother continued  softly, as though  she was thinking  out loud.
“And  of course  it could  be a pseudonym, but  his publisher  claims  the  name  is  as  real  as  the  man.”   Nothing seemed the norm when it came to Finn Dalton.
“You  know,  work  on the Alaskan  pipeline was very big about  the time your  father  and  I got married. That  was a huge project, and it brought a lot of men to Alaska; many of them stayed. His father might have been one of them.”
“Yes.”  But that  was  a stab  in the  dark.  She’d already spent hours  going over every type of record she could think to research  from  Alaska,  to no avail. Carrie  glanced  at the time, even though  this talk was helping her generate ideas of where to continue  looking for the mysterious  Mr. Dalton.
“From  what I remember, a lot of men left their wives and families for the attraction of big money.”
“I could start looking at the employment records for the pipeline  from  that  time period  and  see what  I might  find,” Carrie  said.
“That’s a terrific idea. And listen, when you find Finn Dalton,  make sure your dad gets a chance to chat with him, would  you?”
“I can’t promise that.” First she’d need to convince Finn Dalton  to talk to her! “Just do your best.”
“I’ll do what I can.” “Bye, sweetie.”
“Bye, Mom.” Carrie  ended the call and dumped  her cell in her small bag. After a quick glance in the hallway mirror, she headed out the door to what she hoped would be one of the very last social events she would  ever need to cover.
Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 170 million copies of her books in print worldwide. Macomber brings to life the compelling relationships that embrace family, community and enduring friendships, filling her readers with a sense of love and hope.
Macomber is the author of more than 100 novels, most recently Starry Night and Rose Harbor in Bloom; two bestselling cookbooks; numerous inspirational and nonfiction works; two acclaimed children’s books and the Mrs. Miracle Christmas novels.  She is also the author of beloved and bestselling Cedar Cove Series set in Cedar Cove, Washington, on which Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove, Hallmark Channel’s first dramatic scripted television series, is based. She is the recipient of a RITA® award; an RT Book Reviews Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a multiple winner of both the Holt Medallion and the B. Dalton Award. In 2010, the Romance Writers of America presented Macomber with their prestigious Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Her next novel to be published will be BLOSSOM STREET BRIDES (April 2014).
In addition to her bestselling novels, Macomber owns her own tea room, Victorian Rose Tea Room & yarn store, A Good Yarn, named after the shop featured in her popular Blossom Street novels. She and her husband, Wayne, serve on the Guideposts National Advisory Cabinet, and she was recently named World Vision’s international spokesperson for their Knit for Kids charity initiative.
A devoted grandmother, Debbie and her husband Wayne live in Port Orchard, Washington State (the town on which her Cedar Cove novels are based) and winter in Florida.

I've only read a handful of Ms. Macomber's books over the years (mostly Christmas ones). And what drew me to picking up Starry Night, other than the fact it was a Christmas romance was the setting.

Although I've never been to Alaska, I've always dreamed of visiting there. 

Starry Night hasn't changed that. 

This sweet romantic book will have you laughing and smiling and maybe even shedding a tear or two.

It has made for TV MOVIE written all over it and I mean that in the best possible way. If you are looking for a magical easy to read fluffy(again a good a thing) book, you can't go wrong with Starry Night.